Marin Patenaude Twists Canadian Folk Traditions on 'Sight Unseen'

Marin Patenaude Twists Canadian Folk Traditions on 'Sight Unseen'
Marin Patenaude's smooth, nuanced voice can seem high like a bird, and at the same time deep and earthy. Her second album, Sight Unseen, transports listeners to a rugged and innocent rural landscape while also conveying the feel of a small and intimate folk club. While Sight Unseen is a folk record, there is a whisper of jazz in the background. The intricate instrumental arrangements do nothing to detract from the album's raw authenticity.

Patenaude's sound traces both to a rural upbringing and to growing up in a family of accomplished musicians; her sister is award-winning folk singer Pharis Romero. Following her self-titled debut album in 2016, extensive Canadian tours and signing to Dallas Green's Still Records, she has returned with Sight Unseen, which builds and expands upon her previous work.

The album begins with the short and poignantly sad "Sight Unseen Part 1."The album's third track, "Don't Sell the Farm," starts out slow and waltzy. Then, midway, it switches to a fast-paced minor key with the lyrical refrain "winter came in" before returning to its original, feeling as if it has transitioned through seasons. "Still Horizons" is a serene love song, and "Paint it Green" contains elements of rock'n'roll. 

It is a good thing Marin Patenaude read what was in the cards and embarked on a musical career. Sight Unseen is faithful to tradition while also forging new paths.  (Still)